Saturday, May 14, 2011

Study: Exclusive Cesarean Birth Reduces Incontinence Risk

This latest study has been reported on Reuters under a rather different headline: "Choosing C-section may not prevent incontinence"... Hence my comment below:

It's incredible that even this research, which clearly adds to the body of evidence demonstrating prophylactic benefits with planned cesarean birth, should be presented in as negative a way as possible.

"Having a Cesarean section may not lower a woman's chance of incontinence later in life -- unless she delivers all of her children that way."

I chose a cesarean birth with both of my children, and the potential protection of my pelvic floor was certainly a factor in making my informed decision. So many birth advocates persistently downplay the risk of pelvic floor damage (including incontinence but also pelvic organ prolapse) when informing women about the risks of planning a vaginal birth, and yet this study adds to an existing body of evidence - highlighting an increased risk.

It is very interesting to me that this undeniably 'good cesarean news' should be presented here in the style of a back-handed compliment, and I would suggest this as an alternative headline:

"Giving birth exclusively by cesarean may lower a woman's chance of incontinence later in life".

Finally - it would be useful to report on the difference in this study (if the information is available) between women whose cesareans were planned and those who had emergency surgery, as this is likely to make a difference in health outcomes too.

1 comment:

BaronessBlack said...

I find your comment about comparing women who had elective caesareans and those who had emergency caesareans very helpful. Why are these two groups not compared more often? I have had three emergency caesareans, but when being offered electives, I haven't been able to find much data comparing the two groups. It always seems to be caesarean vs. vaginal birth.
There seems to be no distinctive term for a planned caesarean that will happen after labour has started, but that is not an "emergency"!